Dear mummy, it’s not everyday that you get an invite from Phil Bendall, General Manger at River Cottage Canteen, Winchester to come down and sample some dishes. My mummy jumped at the chance! She knows little about River Cottage apart from what she’s seen on the telly.
River Cottage has given millions of TV viewers a taste for great cooking since 1998, when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall first brought his famous food ethos to Channel 4. My mummy has watched a couple of his programmes and was enlightened by his passion for food integrity and how he championed local, seasonal and sustainable produce.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall applies this ethos to his award-winning restaurants and delis based in the South West of England (Axminster, Bristol, Plymouth and River Cottage Canteen Winchester). So she was intrigued to see if the food at our local restaurant was good as everyone claimed.
River Cottage Canteen Winchester offers a combination of freshly prepared seasonal, local, organic and wild food, on a regularly changing menu, in the relaxed ambience of the restaurant. They have their own kitchen garden on site too! There is a separate bar area offering a selection of local cider, beer, River Cottage seasonal cocktails, coffees, cakes and snacks throughout the day and evening time. They even have their own brew! My mummy would like to check out their cocktail hour with her friends!
She attended a social media event last week, where head chef, Mark Price, took her through some of his current favourite dishes. It was a lovely relaxed evening in a wonderful setting.
River Cottage Canteen, Winchester is located next to Winchester Guildhall and tucked behind the Cathedral. It’s set in beautiful gardens by the River Itchen and used to be the old mill. The restaurant is housed in a stunning grade II listed Abbey Mill building overlooking the river. It’s only a stone’s throw from the High Street and nearby carparks.
Inside it was stunning and she was handed a welcome drink and had a tour of the building. The decor is gorgeous with exposed wood everywhere and ambient lighting. The restaurant also offers a base for River Cottage’s environmental campaigns; offers cookery courses and provides a venue for meetings, presentations and events.
They have used reclaimed items inside from the old mill and breathed new life into them, like the original ropes now used as eye-catching light fixtures hanging from the ceilings. Mismatched furniture gives the restaurant a quirky and laid back feel.
River Cottage Canteen, Winchester is heavily involved with local community projects, hosting and raising money for charity events and raising awareness of local issues on their website and newsletters. We’d love to attend the launch of FareShare, tackling hunger and fighting food waste on the 11th May! It sounds like a great charity.
They also support and encourage local businesses to become suppliers at their famous restaurant. They even hold meet and greets with producers. My mummy would love to meet the representatives from Jude’s Ice Cream on 23rd June – they do a mean Salted Caramel ice cream and we’re addicted! She was even surprised that her old butchers Uptons of Bassett, in Winchester Road, Southampton are currently supplying meat to River Cottage.
On the night she was told about the farms and vineyards they worked with. From squashes bought in Sunnyfields Farm outside Totton to Danbury Wines based in Stockbridge she was impressed with the fact they purchased all food and drink to use on their premises within a 50 mile radius.
My mummy was lucky to meet the head chef of River Cottage Canteen, Winchester, Mark Price, and she had a brief synopses of each canapé/taster dish brought out for her to try. He talked about the menu, how it was devised and ingredients sourced. My mummy found it really interesting!
These are the dishes she sampled and she loved each and every one of them!
My mummy enjoyed the diversity of the food, dish after dish, she even sampled some new tastes like celeriac and spelt. The food was delicious and a real feast for the eyes.
It looks like my mummy had some great food at River Cottage, now we need to go down as a family! I’ve heard that they do a mean Sunday Lunch. They’ve even got an awesome kids menu so I can’t wait to try that!
Stay posted for another review!
Love Bella xx
Disclosure: We were invited down to River Cottage Canteen Winchester, all thoughts are our own. My mummy’s tastebuds did the talking!!